A wall of military veterans was formed to protects protesters from federal police officers in Portland.
On Friday, July 24, the veterans turned up to the protest outside Portland’s courthouse. They remained united as a wall until tear gas was thrown, which dispersed the crowd.
After George Floyd’s death in May, there have been nightly demonstrations taking place in the city, which led to US President Donal Trump to deploy federal officers two weeks ago.
As previously reported by Oregon Live, there were 4,000 people in attendance at Friday’s protest making it the biggest crowd since protests began in May.
A Marine Corps veteran who attended Friday’s protest, Duston Obermeyer said he was there alongside the other veterans to ensure officers did not infringe the protesters’ freedom of speech.
“Our veterans are here specifically to support the rights of the protesters to protest,” he told The New York Times.
Most of the veterans simply stood with their hands behind their backs while shielding the protesters, while some held up Black Lives Matter signs.
The veterans’ decision to form a wall is thought to be a nod to the ‘Wall of Moms’, which was created by a group of women who shielded Portland protesters earlier this week.
There has been a lot of backlash following President Trump’s decision to deploy officers in Portland, with many campaigning to have them removed. Speaking about his decision, the president said that the city had ‘lost control of the anarchists and agitators’.
According to the Huffington Post, two dozen Senate Democrats have since sent a letter to the Trump administration demanding answers regarding the deployment of the federal officers.
A part of the letter reads:
“Critically, it remains unclear what legal authorities the federal government has invoked for its militarized interventions in American cities. All of this is part of an alarming pattern by the Trump Administration in taking an aggressive and excessive response to protests catalyzed by the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others. [sic]”
President Trump defended his decision on Twitter, saying that he did it because the government is ‘trying to help Portland, not hurt it,’ he added that they must protect federal property and ‘our people’.